Ocean 46 Super Sport

Exclusive: Ocean 46 By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — January 2005

Lines of Legacy

Dave Martin redraws one of his most popular designs to make it work with a new generation of big iron.

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Ocean 46 SS
• Part 2: Ocean 46 SS
• Ocean 46 SS Specs
• Ocean 46 SS Deck Plan
• Ocean 46 SS Acceleration Curve
• Ocean 46 SS Photo Gallery

 Related Resources
• Boat Test Index

 Elsewhere on the Web
• Ocean Yachts

In the early 1980’s, Ocean Yachts gave naval architect Dave Martin a task: design a hull that would be seakindly and quick. How quick? The goal was 30 knots on the top end with twin 450-hp Detroit Diesel 6-71TIs. Martin’s solution was a planing-hull form that measured 46 feet LOA and transitioned from a 24-degree deadrise forward to three degrees at the transom (more on this later). He met the 30-knot goal, and from 1982 to 1985 the Ocean 46 Super Sport was a hit with bluewater anglers and cruisers alike.

Fast forward 20 years. Ocean Yachts once again calls upon Martin to design a hull with the same LOA, only this time with with nearly double the horsepower and a 30-knot cruise speed.

I never had the chance to test the original 46 SS, but I can say that Martin’s current design, matched with Ocean’s boatbuilding expertise, has produced a winner.
My test boat, which was powered with optional twin 825-hp MTU Series 60 diesels (710-hp Caterpillar C12s are standard), made a 31-knot (35.5 mph) cruise speed and topped out at 35.6 knots (41 mph) in a quick two- to three-foot chop off of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That’s almost a six-knot increase over her predecessor, and much of the speed, says Martin, is attributed to advancements in horsepower. “Back in those days [the 1980’s], a planing hull was either going to take off or it wasn’t,” he says laughingly. (I can hear the wisdom of experience in every chuckle.) “Today it’s a whole different ball game. People are going to use [the available] power, and the trick is to design an efficient and smooth ride without pounding,” he adds. Martin notes that pounding varies according to the square of the speed. For instance, 40 knots squared (40 x 40)is 1600, and 30 knots squared (30 x 30) is 900. To find out just how much more that same hull will pound while traveling at the higher speed, you divide 1600 by 900, and you divide get 1.77, which mathematically equates to a ride that pounds nearly twice as rough. “So I have to put in a lot of thought into keeping the hull efficient and seaworthy,” Martin adds.

To that end, the 46’s hull starts with a 34-degree deadrise forward, ten degrees more than the original. Like the first 46, this entry represents 25 percent of the total waterline length. The hull then transitions to 23 degrees amidships (nearly 12 degrees more deadrise than the original 46) for 50 percent of the waterline length, and ends with a moderate 14 degrees for the last 25 percent of the waterline length (the preceding 46 ran a flat three degrees at the transom). In addition, Martin designed this boat with lifting strakes down-angle at 32 degrees and farther apart forward of the hull than aft. This, combined with the more sharply transitioning deadrise, helps prevent hull suction at speed and provides a flow of undisturbed water to the 28x38 four-blade props, enhancing both the feel and efficiency of the 46.

I found that whether I ran this boat down-sea or into a head sea, she ran true. I liked her best cross-sea but found some tab was needed here and there to deal with the wind and occasional spray. Sightlines at the helm are clean all the way around, and a great view of the cockpit is afforded here, a plus when backing down on big fish. However, I did find the side-by-side single-lever MTU controls to the right of the wheel oddly placed. I prefer one to either side of the wheel or single levers flanking the small helm pod. The standard hydraulic steering reacted in real time and helped show off the 46’s nimble nature. She turned on a dime and carved symmetrical figure-eights without much wheelwork. It reminded me of a similar ride I experienced last year on Ocean’s 50-footer. While my test boat’s helm station was bare, I noted large spaces for a multiscreen electronics suite.

Next page > Part 2: The original 46 was quick for her time, and advancements in hull design and diesel technology have made this second generation even quicker. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

This article originally appeared in the December 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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